Sunday, January 29, 2012

from rice cooker to solar oven in three hours

the results of today's tinkering
It was seasonably cold today- meaning that it was much colder than it has been for most of the winter. Ice on the windows and some fresh snow on the sidewalk.  I wanted to go outside to play, but the kids just started being a bit sniffly and coughing (also seasonable) and it's never a good idea to take them outside when that's the case.  Even if it is an old wives tale that cold weather will bring on a cold or flu, I have a wife that believes very much in that conventional wisdom, and I'll be in trouble if I take them outside with me.

So, since Gita isn't feeling very well either after her fourth chemo session, I mostly stayed inside, played with the kids and looked for ways to stay sane.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

carrot wine? why not?

a nice golden-yellow carrot wine must, fermenting
I made my first batch of wine in my dorm room at the U of M.  I used a gallon of apple cider I bought at the corner market, bread yeast, and fashioned an air lock out of a cork, which I drilled a hole through vertically, and a  foot of surgical tubing, tied in a pigtail, and secured to the cork with some wax.

I guess it was innovative, and at the time my only goal was procuring some alcohol, as is the case for most if not all college freshmen.  I got alcohol, all right, but not very good tasting alcohol.  In retrospect, it was badly oxidized, with the added benefit of the off-flavors that come with using bread yeast rather than wine yeast.  It worked well enough for me to try it again, though.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

mysteriously mild midwinter moon

full moon through the neighbor's oak tree
I went for a walk on my lunch break through downtown St. Paul today.  It was like every other walk I've taken through the downtown-- in early October.

I wore a jacket and hat, but once I started walking uphill in the sun, I lost the hat, and after a while the jacket too.  There I was, taking a nice walk in sunny, pleasant weather, wearing only a dress shirt and corduroys in the middle of January.